I think a few people here are missing the point when – justifiably – blogers and critics mention that small apps, ipads, kindle’s and iphones are a ‘threat’ to the console market, specially to the one that will need to catch up like the Wii U.
It’s all pretty much self explain in the sentence “Remember, in the game industry, like the television industry, the battle is ultimately one for people’s time”. This couldn’t be truer, obviously the threat isn’t plain and simple, or noticeable, that’s the ‘beauty’ of it really, it’s a sort of stealth threat that it might become serious, or not.
While we cannot really directly compare a Wii to an Ipad or a kindle, the ultimate goal is indeed to thrive when people are choosing what to do with their time and what sort of life-style they have.
Before the apps and ipad mania there was no real threat to any console, if you want games, you buy a console (or use your pc) and that was it, but now people have a lot more choice of how, where, and when they want to game – aka use their time – A person that is constantly on the move but want something interesting to do while travelling or commuting will most likely go for a simple platform like a kindle or a few iphone games to fiddle around. Yet, that same person might not find any usefulness to have (or spend more money on) a Wii, regardless if he likes to throw parties at home with his friends or family.
People that like to play games casually are no longer forced to own a console to do so, and fulfuil their gaming needs with a simple <insert any hand-held device here>, thus making the point of console = games mute.
So yes, it might be just a storm in a glass of water, but it has the potential to be enough of a threat to hinder some extra sales, lost to people who just have no home-time to spend on gaming.
I’m a Wii owner myself and it’s my favorite console, but it’s severely underused by me and my companion, she loves it more then I do and barely uses it, due to; precisely, lack of time. Yet, on the other hand, I’ve happen to know couples that spend the time they have at home fondling around their ipad games and buying games for a £ instead of spending 200£ on a console and a few more on 2 or 3 titles.
Plus you’ve got major announcements for new generation consoles coming from Microsoft and Sony somewhere between 2012 and/or 2013 at the latest. And when they launch 1 or 2 years later the Wii U will have around 3 to 4 years of age, and although the current Wii had the upper hand when it launched – by tapping into a market that was untouched and full of potential, the casual/family gamers – this time both Sony and Microsoft will be aware of that market and if they do their homework right, they’ll tap it from the get go with something innovating (Note that innovation mostly Microsoft since Sony just tends to copy-cat others (The early unreleased PSX controllers; the Wii remotes/Move) and their real innovations don’t break any ground and fail miserably (PSP Go).